Images Of Ireland

 

Immigrant Eyes (Guy Clark)

Old Ellis Island was swarming
Like a scene from a costume ball.
Decked out in the colours of Europe
And on fire with the hope of it all.

There my father's own father stood huddled
With the tired and the hungry and scared.
Turn or the century pilgrims
Bound by the dream that they shared.

They were standing in lines just like cattle
Poked and sorted and shoved.

Some were one desk away from sweet freedom
Some torn from someone they loved.

Through this sprawling tower of Babel
Came a young man confused and alone.
Determined and bound for America
Carrying everything that he owned.

Sometimes when I look in my grandfather's immigrant eyes
I see that day reflected, I can't hold my feelings inside.
I see starting with nothing and working hard all of his life
So don't take it for granted say grandfather's immigrant eyes.

Now he rocks and stares out the window
But his eyes are still just as clear.
As the day he sailed through the harbour
Came ashore on the island of tears.

My grandfather's days are numbered
But I won't let his memory die.
Cause he gave me the gift of this country
And the look in his emigrant eyes.

Sometimes when I look in my grandfather's immigrant eyes
I see that day reflected I can't hold my feelings inside.
I see starting with nothing and working hard all of his life
So don't take it for granted say grandfather's immigrant eyes.

Now don't take it for granted say grandfather's immigrant eyes.

It's difficult to imagine what it must have been like 100 years ago, to leave ones own country, forever, and make the perilous sea journey with a burning hope for a better life in the new world.
My favourite version of this song is by Irish singer Dolores Keane.

 

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Owen Brennan
Copyright 1998 belongs with the original authors. All rights reserved.
Revised: July 28, 2002.